Publication Date

December 1, 2023

Perspectives Section

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

While reading president Edward Muir’s wise and insightful column “On Ideological Litmus Tests: Historians and the Current Threats to Academic Freedom” (October 2023), I was reminded of the loyalty oath I was required to sign when I became an assistant professor at California State University, San Bernardino, in 1968. I remember thinking how absurd such oaths were, because—as I subsequently told my students over the following 50 years—had I been a communist bent on overthrowing the United States government, I would have no qualms about signing such an oath, because doing so would not have stopped me from engaging in treasonous activities.

During our current period of broken political promises, public lies, and treasonous actions, loyalty oaths, it seems to me, are perhaps dangerously ridiculous.

Robert Blackey
California State University, San Bernardino (emeritus)

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